By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starting on Tuesday, masks will be mandatory in Pennsylvania schools. The order, which was signed by Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam, will apply to all students, teachers, staff, and visitors aged 2 years or older.

Vaccination does not exempt anybody from wearing a mask.

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This is something Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration wanted to avoid, but the sky-rocketing number of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania compelled the governor to take action.

“We have to act now to protect our students and our teachers, we need to put politics aside, we need to get back to what matters, keeping students safe and keeping students in the classroom,” Wolf said in August.

Initially, Wolf ruled out a statewide mask mandate for schools, hoping local school districts would act, but there hasn’t been unified support and protests have erupted among people against mask requirements.

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School board meetings like the one in Hatboro-Horsham resulted in parents picking fights with each other.

“So screw you and get it together, lady,” one parent said during that meeting a few weeks ago.

Masks were also optional for the Central Bucks School District until Wolf’s mandate came into effect. 

As of Monday, cases are still on the rise in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth’s level of community transmission is also considered “high” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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“Doing nothing right now to stop COVID that’s just not an option. Doing nothing is going to mean more sick kids, mean more days out of school, more grief, and more problems for our economy,” Wolf said.